3/27/22

Crispy Baked Egg Rolls - (yes, baked, not fried) and freezing the leftovers for future meals!

 

This is another one of those posts where I didn't think I'd bother posting it on the website and only half-heartedly took a couple last second 'oh yeah' photos during the process (with my old, secondary cell phone I use as a back up (the old, small 2016 SE version of iphones).  

Since I didn't think I'd have time or care to be bothered to post, I also didn't take good finished product photos, but I did grab the phone and snap a few photos when I was food sealing them.  So like usual, the photos may not be great - but this blog was never about the photography anyway!  Ha.

CRISPY baked egg rolls.  Not soggy, not gummy.  That's what these are.   

I love egg rolls but I don't give into that craving very often because of the useless carbs.  However, I've been craving them off and on for about a year, and last weekend I had a couple cabbages in the fridge to use up.  I grabbed a packet of egg roll wrappers at the store and decided to give into the craving.  

Note - yes you can 'make' various versions of low carb or keto egg rolls.  But I don't actually like them and no, they are not like the real thing when you are absolutely craving the real-crispy-yummy-deal.  

I made a batch, ate the leftover filling separate for 'lunch' (low carb!  No egg roll!) and then had 3 egg rolls later that night for dinner.  After we all had our fill, the leftovers were placed in a container and put into the deep freezer to freeze over night so I could food seal them and freeze them the next day!

YES YOU CAN FREEZE EGG ROLLS.  That seems a silly question to me, but apparently a lot of people don't know, or think you can't.  Basically, just ask yourself if you can buy a food frozen at the store?  Yes?  Then you can freeze it. 



I like shrimp egg rolls and pork egg rolls.  Not so much chicken.  And beef?  Well, that's basically like making any number of Midwestern beef and cabbage meals (like Runza with an egg roll wrapper instead of a pastry crust, or a bajillion of the Iowa/Nebraska/Minnesota casseroles that are basically the egg roll cabbage filling but with ground beef).  If you are from Minnesota you might want to substitute 'casserole' for 'hot dish' when you mentally read that last sentence.

I wanted pork, and I have ground pork in the freezer (remember, I grind our meat myself so I have whatever kind of ground meat or poultry I want).  So pork it was!

Since I was going to have carbs in this meal anyway from the egg roll wrappers, I also decided to use up a can of bean sprouts I had in the pantry.  Egg roll fillings are great that way.  You can play with your food a little bit and add/delete what you want outside of the typical cabbage, green onions, soy sauce and ginger. I didn't have any green onions left (I go through them quickly!) so I used dried chives in its place. 

When you get the mixture made, taste it.  See if you prefer it to be seasoned a little more - or a little less (by adding more cabbage or pork).  Do you want to add more onion? Garlic? Ginger?  Soy Sauce?  Do it.  It's your recipe, your food, your meal.  Play with it to make it taste how you want it to.

BASIC EGG ROLLS - Crispy and Oven Baked

1 1/2 lb. ground pork
4+ c shredded cabbage
1 can bean sprouts, drained and pressed well to get moisture out
a few carrots, shredded
a stalk or two of celery if you wish (I don't but some do)
a small can of water chestnuts, diced up
4 green onions, or scallions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ginger
salt and pepper
1/2 c soy sauce or liquid aminos
4 T rice vinegar (if you only have white vinegar, only use about 3 T)
2 T brown sugar or brown sugar substitute like Swerve
Oil - about a cup total for everything (you'll probably use canola)
2 pkgs large egg roll wrappers (the ones about 6-7 inch
You can use oil, water or a beaten egg to seal them.  I just use the liquid from the filling and oil that are on my hands/fingers when I'm rolling them.

In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar.  Set aside.  Cook the ground pork in a pan with oil on the stove until it's done and no longer pink.  Add about 1/2 the liquid soy sauce/vinegar mixture.  Cook another minute or two until the liquid starts to evaporate a bit.  Remove to a plate and use the same pan to pour in about 1-2 tablespoons oil to cover, then add the vegetables, ginger and garlic.  

When the cabbage is softening a bit, add the green onions or scallions and the rest of the liquid soy sauce mixture.  Cook and stir until the liquid is evaporating (about 5 minutes on a medium high heat).  Put the mixture into a large bowl with the browned pork and mix.

Lay out a well oiled baking pan (I use avocado oil for everything but most people use canola). 
Lay your egg roll wrapper in front of you in a diamond, with the point at your stomach; place about 1/3 cup filling on the wrapper just below the half way line and an inch above the bottom point.
Use your finger to get the top point and about an inch down each side wet with either liquid that is already on your hands from grabbing the filling, or water, oil or some beaten egg. 
Start with the point nearest your stomach and roll up the filling, stop at the half way to fold each side point inward to contain the filling, then finish rolling upwards.
The moistened top point now seals the roll.
Place on your well oiled baking pan.  Do the rest of them.

If you have filling leftover, you can eat it as it is and call it lunch.  :)

Brush the egg rolls very well, covering them with the oil.   Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the ends and crisp. 

Remove, and although you don't have to, if you aren't going to serve them for at least 10 minutes or more, I like to remove them to a wire cookie rack so the bottoms crisp up and don't get soggy sitting on the oiled pan.  I also do this to let them cool if I'm freezing them.

TO FREEZE:  Let them cool down and place them into the freezer overnight or at least for 4-6 hours to freeze solid.  Then remove them and package them in freezer ziplocks or food seal them - as many to a package as you would need or want for future meals.  To prepare them later, you just bake them again until they are heated through (about 15 minutes). 



The filling... 

 
 
Rolling... and placing on a well oiled pan

 

That first little guy was opening up a bit but the oil I brushed on before baking got him back down

 

Using lots of avocado oil (purely my choice oil - you can use canola) to get them crispy

  

Ready to be dipped in a little Braggs liquid aminos...(or any soy sauce. I use both Braggs liquid aminos and LaChoy soy sauce - whatever I have on hand).  Many prefer a sweet and sour sauce.

 


 

 

Braggs Liquid Aminos (a natural soy sauce)

 

 

I have this blue pastry brush in the photo above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3/23/22

Scones - low carb, keto and sugar free versions (A cranberry orange and a cinnamon version here)

I was craving scones all week but never had time to make them.  The craving got strong enough that finally, the night before last, at 8:15 pm, I started to make them.  I wasn't sure what kind I would make when I started, but I saw a bag of dried cranberries (the low 50% sugar ones) in the pantry, so I decided cranberry orange would be good.  However, once you have all those ingredients out, you might as well make a second.  For simplicity sake, I decided on a simple cinnamon scone version.  I really really want a blueberry scone and I have frozen blueberries on hand so more than likely, those will get made this week.

Because the dried cranberries do have a little bit of natural sugar, those are not completely sugar free so not officially keto (which is why I just say low carb for those).  

Almond flour scones are not as good as wheat flour (obviously) but they are good.  Almond flour tends to be 'softer' and doesn't hold a crisp edge or bottom like wheat versions - which I love - but the carbs and sugar in regular scones aren't worth eating the flour version.  :)


Scones - keto/lowcarb and sugarfree versions

1 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1/3 natural sweetener
1 T gelatin powder
1/2 t salt
1 T baking powder
1/2 c whipping cream
1 egg
3 T butter
2 t good quality vanilla
1/2 c dried low sugar cranberries or for cinnamon version, 2 t cinnamon and 1/4 c natural sweetener

In a food processor bowl, place the dry ingredients (or use a regular mixing bowl and mix everything either by hand or with a mixer - up to you).  After pulsing to mix the dry ingredients a few times, add the whipping cream, egg, butter and vanilla.  Pulse until it's all mixed and starts to ball up a little bit (a very thick batter).

Add the dried low sugar cranberries if you are making that kind and then scrape the batter/dough out onto a piece of parchment paper.  If you are making the cinnamon scone, add about half the cinnamon sugar-substitute mixture over the dough and gently fold over just once or twice to cover.   Then pat out the dough into a circle shape with your hands - gently forming a round.  It was about 8-9 inches in diameter. 

If making the cinnamon version, sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar substitute over all.

Use a long knife to cut the round into wedges.  About 8 or 10 depending on how large you want them.

Carefully spread them apart a bit with a spatula or knife so air can reach all the sides.

Slide a baking sheet under the parchment paper and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake until they are firm and golden - but if they start to brown too much, just place a layer of aluminum foil over them.  Mine took about 35 minutes.  Let cool at least 5-10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glazes, I used an orange glaze on the cranberry, and a basic cream cheese glaze on the cinnamon.

For the cream cheese version, mix about a tablespoon of cream cheese with a bit of vanilla and about a tablespoon of whipping cream and a tablespoon of sweetener.  Put in a frosting bag or a baggy and sip the corner off, squeeze over the scone. 

For the orange cranberry scones, I used a couple tablespoons sweetener and mixed in a dash of vanilla, a dash of dried orange zest, a tablespoon of whipping cream and a dash of orange extract emulsion.  Drizzled with a spoon over the scones.






 





A few of the products related to this post.... available through Amazon if you'd like.
(I had the orange extract emulsion on hand because it's also a great way to make a sugar free, keto 'orange chicken' (linked) dish.  If you spring to buy some, keep that in mind!) 


unflavored gelatin powder

low sugar cranberries

coconut flour

orange extract emulsion

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3/21/22

Reposting: Grinding wheat to make bread, cakes, muffins and more; the grain mill I own and the wheat I buy (including photos)

 

 



Although we typically eat low carb and sugarfree (which means little or no wheat products) when we do eat wheat (because who doesn't love homemade bread!?) I order whole, non GMO, heritage wheat berries and grind them myself.  (Link to the wheat I buy for grinding here)  These are also the wheat berries I store in our emergency pantry.

I've posted previously about how when I first decided to try to grind my own wheat, I wanted to make sure this was something I really wanted to do before I invested a few hundred dollars in an electric grinder.   So I invested in a small mill; and I loved using hand milled wheat but, it took me about an hour to grind enough wheat berries to make 2 loaves of bread. That's when I knew I wanted to invest in an electric mill.

In the end this is the one I got: The WonderMill (which also grinds dried beans, rice and corn - not just wheat)




Here is mine....



  • The World's Cleanest, Quietest, Easy To Use Mill
  • High speed, stainless steel mill will not overheat your flour
  • Maintenance and trouble free design - no gumming, jamming or glazing
  • 12-cup capacity flour receiver doubles as a convenient storage canister
  • 1-3/4 hp motor, 120 volts, Lifetime Warranty

To make a loaf of bread previously, it took about 45 minutes of cranking the Victorio hand-crank (off and on - my arms got tired) to get enough flour ground. With the WonderMill I had my flour ready in about a minute.
  • Highly Certified - Wondermill Grain Mill has the World's most demanding electronic Testing and Certification Standards - UL (for USA), CSA (for Canada), and CE (for Europe and UK).
  • Easy To Use and Clean - Simply fill the hopper with the grains and get the super-fine flour at temperatures that preserve nutrients. There is no need for additional attachments to store the flour, simply put a plastic bag in the canister and grind! It is easy to maintain and clean this grain grinder. The grinding process is virtually dust free and trouble free, as the product design eliminates any possibility of gumming, jamming or glazing. There are no small parts or gaskets to misplace.
  • Excellent Quality - The World's #1 rated electric mill grinder is BPA Free and quickly grinds the grains and beans. It is the most powerful and the long lasting Mill in the World that comes with 1250 Watts motor. This electric grinder can grind over 100 pounds of flour in an hour.
  • High Quality - The most powerful micronizing mill's milling chamber and fins made from stainless steel which eliminates overheating the flour.
  • Includes - Every WonderMill product comes along with a limited lifetime warranty



Freshly ground wheat berries - still warm from grinding


Be sure you only use it for 'dry' grains (not things like almonds, which have oils) and you start the motor running before adding your wheat berries.










 

 

 

 

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3/18/22

Re-posting my REUSABLE CANNING LIDS post - Tattler Lids - reusable - NOT one time use like the newer metal lids. Hints and Helps to use Tattler reusable lids for canning

Re-posting my Tattler Lid post for March 2022 as more and more people turn to canning foods during these hard times of rising inflation and shortages on the shelves.

  

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen these photos posted yesterday - I was canning onions and using Tattler lids

THE LID CRISIS:  If you are already a home-canner or you started to learn the process during the Covid quarantines, then you know there was a HUGE canning supply shortage last year.  You couldn't find water bath nor pressure canners; you couldn't find canning jars for love nor money and finding the metal sealing lids was utterly impossible.  The thing is, it still is.  Jars and pots and canners are back on the shelves for the most part, but lids are still incredibly difficult to find.  Enter the Tattler lids.

Tattler lids have been around since 1976 but never as popular as they are becoming now as more and more people turn to them to replace the metal lids they can't get their hands on.   Many home canners have been using them for 30+ years and love them; others tried them, had failures and proclaim to anyone listening that they don't work and they hate them.

Mostly... that's user error.

 

Tattler lids are plastic lids (BPA FREE) with rubber gaskets that can be used over and over and over for years and years until they show wear like drying out or cracking.  

Many people don't actually read the instructions that come with them and try to can with them just as they do the metal lids they've been using for years.  With that, comes failure.  There are also two versions of Tattlers, the newer versions say EZ on them.  Read the instructions that come with your Tattlers and you'll do fine - and more than likely not have any (or very few) fail to seal.

Note:  if you do have any fail to seal, just re-process them again and if you still didn't get a seal, just put that one in the refrigerator and use it up first over the next week or so.

I'm not going to give directions on the canning PROCESS because I'm not a canning expert and I don't play one on the internet.  What I DO want to mention is a couple TIPS FOR USING TATTLER LIDS that might help you with your canning success using them.

TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN USING TATTLER LIDS


1) Bring your lids and rubber rings to a boil on the stove, reduce to a low simmer and let them simmer while you pack your canning jars.  Use them hot.

2)  Be sure to wipe the canning jar edges with vinegar to remove any grease or food drops/spills even if you think you didn't splatter anything on the rims.  They need to be clean for the rubber to seal.

3)  Leave more headspace than you do with metal.  Metal lids only need about 1/2 - 1 inch headspace.  Tattler lids like more.  1 - 1 1/4 inch. 

4)  Do NOT tighten the lids down with the metal rings like you do traditional metal lids.  Lay your lid and gasket on the clean edge.  Put the ring in place.  Hold the lid and the jar in place with ONE FINGER on top.  Now using your other hand to start to tighten the metal ring.  When your jar starts to turn with the ring - STOP.   If you've canned before, your instinct is to think it's 'too loose!' and you need to finger tighten the lid!  YOU DON'T.  As soon as that jar starts to spin with the ring, it's tight enough.  Even if you don't think so. Even if you think it's sure to come open during the canning process.  You cannot tighten them to finger-tight like metal lids or your jars will blow their tops or even break.
 
Process your jars as directed for the foods you are canning.  There is just ONE more tip.
 
5)  After removing the jars from your canner, let them sit for about 2-3 minutes and then using a towel to protect your hands and fingers, tighten each lid down on your jars.  NOW is when you use your regular "just finger tight" twist that you WANTED to use when you first put the lids/gaskets on.   
 
After you finger tighten them after processing, let them sit and don't disturb them either overnight or until the next day.  Basically, just let them sit for 24 hours.  Then you can remove the metal rings and slowly pick up each jar by the seal to make sure they all are sealed tight.  The lid will also be concave so you can see it sealed - but make sure you pick them up to test.  If your lid comes off, then it's not sealed and either re-process or just use it up first.

___________________________________________________

Just some photos of canning with the Tattler lids....

 24 hours later....

Metal rings removed and seals tested - beautiful!


 

 

I ordered all my Tattler lids directly from their site (reusablecanninglids.com) but if you prefer ordering from Amazon they offer them there as well.

 

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3/9/22

Reposting: Keto Sheetpan Pizza

 

 

I think this was posted back in the summer of 2021 but reposting again today because I plan to make it tonight and thought maybe it was time to re-share it again.  It's THAT good and THAT easy.  The part I hate is just the time it takes to mix up the almond flour and mozzarella dough.  Pure laziness on my part since it takes 5 minutes to mix.  Ha.  You make the dough, add in some sausage and Italian spice then press it into a large sheet pan and pre-bake a bit before topping with whatever the heck you want.


Keto Supreme Pizza

Use your favorite mozzarella keto dough
(typically 1 c mozzarella, 2 oz. cream cheese, 1 c almond flour, and 2 eggs but also add 1/4 c coconut flour and 1/4 c parmesan to it). 
Mix in about 1 cup Italian sausage, uncooked
1 1/2 t oregano or Italian seasoning

Toppings:  Use what you like - mix and match to your preference
                    1 T avocado or olive oil    
                    1 onion, sliced
                    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
                    Fresh garlic
                    Pepperoni
                    Mushrooms
                    Black olives/green olives
                    3/4 c low sugar/low carb/keto pizza sauce
                    Mozzarella Cheese and Cheddar Cheese

Mix your mozzarella dough and the sausage, and press into a greased sheet pan about 10X12 or 9X13.  Bake 15 minutes at 375.  Saute' the onions and green peppers in the olive until they are beginning to soften.  Take off the heat and add the garlic.  Stir.

Remove crust from oven and top with the pizza sauce, then the toppings - ending with the cheeses.  Bake again until the cheese is melted and it's starting to turn golden (about 25 minutes or so).

 

  

Pressing it into the sheet pan....



Softening the onions and peppers a bit


Topping with onions, peppers, garlic, pepperoni....




Out of the oven.... piping hot

 

Literally took this photo quickly right before eating it!



 

You might also be interested in some of the products related to this post available through Amazon:

Various sheet pans are available through Amazon if you need one

 

 

I make my own homemade pizza sauce but I know many people on low carb/sugar free ways of eating use Rao's.  I can find this at my local grocery store and have bought it when I didn't have pizza sauce made and frozen for future use.   

Rao's Homemade All Natural Pizza Sauce -13 oz (Pack of 2)

 

 

I'm not a fan of coconut flour and use it very little - but it does need to be in some recipes to 'help' the almond flour get the right consistency.  My favorite brand of coconut flour isn't made any longer but I'm looking at Anthony's for my next purchase as it's really, really popular with people.

Anthony's Organic Coconut Flour, 4 lb, Batch Tested Gluten Free, Non GMO, Vegan, Keto Friendly

 

I typically buy this almond flour (Blue Diamond) at my local Sam's Club but recently they've not carried it and have another brand in place - it's still available through Amazon though.

Blue Diamond Almond Flour, Gluten Free, Blanched, Finely Sifted 3 Pound bag 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3/8/22

(Double Layer Keto Dessert:) Sugarfree Lemon Cheesecake with a Keto Lemon Cake Bottom Crust

 

Reminder to myself:  THIS IS THE ONE

I just polished off a second piece of this amazing cheesecake (for breakfast... with coffee... and I don't even like to eat breakfast).  The texture of this cheesecake is so incredibly creamy it's hard to only eat one slice at a time; which is why all three times I've had this since it was made, I've had 2 helpings each time.

I don't waste food so the idea behind this cheesecake was using up the remnants of the keto lemon cake I made about 2 months ago and popped into the deep freezer.  We aren't big 'dessert' people.  We rarely (never) finish off desserts so typically after the first day or so,  I wrap them and freeze them for a month or two and then pull them out when we are in the mood for that item again.

I knew this lemon cake wasn't going to be finished as a 'cake' (we hardly ever actually eat 'cake') so I decided to make a cheesecake base to use it up.  And that is how this recipe was born.

 


Keto Lemon Cheesecake
with a keto cake crust

(6 inch - 3" tall Fat Daddio spring form size)

1 crust from either typical almond flour/sweetener/butter or leftover keto cake of choice
2 1/2 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz size) - softened a bit
3/4 c natural sweeteners - confectioner's style
2 eggs
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c whipping cream
2 t lemon juice
1 t Watkins vanilla
1/4 t dried lemon

Grease the pan and line the bottom with either a regular nut crust (and pre-bake for 12 minutes at 375  and let cool completely) OR line the bottom of the pan with leftover keto cake of choice, pressing lightly to fill.

With hand mixer, beat the soft cream cheese and sweeteners smooth.  Add the eggs, sour cream and whipping cream along with the extracts.  Either add the dried lemon peel to it or sprinkle across the top after the pan is filled.   Pour into the pan and smooth  the top a bit.  In the 6 inch, FatDaddio pan, this filled to 1/2" from the top with a little left over in the mixing bowl.

Bake at 325 until the center is 'set' and not jiggly.  Turn off the oven, open it for a bit to release some of the heat, and then close the oven and let it set and cool slowly for about 45 minutes or until you remember it again.

Remove and let cool more, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight at least for the texture to turn creamy.  Serve as is, with whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, etc.  Almost anything.  Perfection.

*For a regular size 9" or 10" spring form pan - double the  recipe.
For a regular cheesecake NOT sugar free or keto - use regular powdered sugar of choice.





 

Fat Daddio's Springform Pan (Anodized Aluminum, 6 x 3 Inch) is available through Amazon.  

 

 NOTE:  they also have (in the same link, above),  other sizes - 8", 9" 10" and 11" springform pans

 

 


 

 

THIS LINK for Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan isn't a springform but if you like the pro series pans, this link has all different sizes for the 6" round cake pans including the sometimes hard to find 4" depth size, etc.

 

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